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Canada seeking public input on xenotransplantation before allowing clinical trials.

While many countries are moving towards issuing guidelines for clinical trials in xenotransplantation starting from the top i.e. government directed, the Canadian government has taken an opposite tack by seeking the input of its citizens before they allow clinical trials to begin.

The Therapeutics Products Programme, part of Health Canada--the Canadian government's equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-- is funding a web site through the Canadian Public Health Association to explore the "many ethical, social, scientific, regulatory and legal issues" surrounding xenotransplantation. The web site address is

"Health Canada's decision on whether or not to approve clinical trials is difficult, as the information on xenotransplantation is incomplete and risks are uncertain," the agency says on the web site. "Health Canada has concluded that the issues around xenotransplantation are so complex that the Canadian Public should be consulted. Canadians are being asked to advise Health Canada on whether clinical trials involving xenotransplants should be approved and, if so, under what circumstances."

"There are many difficult issues for Canadians to address before a decision is made on xenotransplantation," said Dr. Heather Ross, co-chair of the CPHA's public advisory group on xenotransplantation. "This web site provides an opportunity for better understanding of the potential benefits and the possible risks."

On the web site the public is then asked to send their viewpoints on any issues deemed important including such areas as need, risk, nature, animal rights and welfare and cost.

Health Canada says it plans to complete the survey some time in 2001. In addition to using the web site, Canadians can fax questions about xenotransplantation to (613) 725-9826, or mail them to the Canadian Public Health Association, 400-1565 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, K1Z 8R1
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Publication:Transplant News
Date:Dec 29, 2000
Previous Article:ISHLT Recommendations on Xenotransplantation Research-Executive Summary.
Next Article:Public advocacy group asks federal court to force FDA to release records on xenotransplantation risks.

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